Stacked firewood

Why You Should Avoid DIY Firewood Collecting & Splitting

As the colder of the winter months approach, homeowners are making the decision on whether or not it is more cost-effective to cut their own firewood or sign up for firewood delivery. While cutting firewood can be a thrilling experience filled with pride and a sense of accomplishment, it comes with great risk, and can be very taxing on your body.  This article breaks down some of the dangers associated with cutting your own firewood.  We are in no way trying to scare you, instead we want to educate you.  Saving a few dollars is not worth losing property, life or limb. 

What once used to be a necessity, when it came to heating our homes, has now become a personal choice.    

Damage to Your Body

Finger injuries, surprisingly, are the most common type of injury.   Wood splitters can rip your fingernails entirely off its bed, or you could possibly lose a finger.  Gloves will not stop a wood splitter.   As if that weren’t enough to deter you, lower back injuries are next on the list.   The most common areas are from an ax that isn’t sharp enough and much like shoveling snow, cutting firewood, requires a significant amount of exertion.   Lower back injuries can also occur from simply picking up heavy logs repeatedly.   

If you are using a chainsaw, be prepared to suffer from injuries to your shoulder areas.  This is likely the case when putting those same heavy logs across them, after you have picked them up. 

Leg injuries are next.  From loose chainsaws, to splintered wood that separates and flys off, unprotected legs can leave nursing and even severe lacerations to your head, hands, face, not just your legs.  

After repeated chainsaws, you might notice damage to your hearing.  Our ears are not designed to withstand the noises that loud machinery makes, and are required to cut logs and wood, in most cases.  Severe damage could lead to total hearing loss. 

Can you see how cutting firewood over a long stretch of time can have a severe impact on your health?  

Felling Tree Hazard

Not only is a permit potentially required to cut down a tree on your own property, it’s extremely hazardous to your property and any surrounding structures or vehicles.  If it is permitted, then you must even then still abide by the federal guidelines on felling times.  Trees are a part of a natural habitat and food source for a number of wild animals.

If for some reason, there is property damage, aside from upsetting the ecosystem, your insurance rates on your homeowners policy will skyrocket.   Felling a tree is no easy task, and requires a professional tree cutting service, to avoid any mishaps or injury.  

Tool Hazards

Have you ever hit yourself with an ax? Neither have we, but we hear it’s extremely painful.  However; the chainsaw is the most effective and widely used tool when cutting firewood.   It is also the most dangerous! 

Most of the injuries that occur are due to not having the proper size chainsaw for the job.  The tiniest chainsaws are extremely powerful.  As powerful as a motorcycle in some cases.  The teeth on a chainsaw are as sharp as a razor and curved.  The curb helps the chainsaw grab onto whatever it is attached to and pull itself into it.  At full speed, those teeth are moving at approximately 9 or more teeth per inch, per second, each leaving a gouge of anywhere from ⅛ of an inch to ¼ of an inch.   What that means for your flesh and bone is about ½ per chainsaw tooth.  Ouch! 

Another dangerous hazard of using a chainsaw is what is called “kick-back”.  Although not as common as the other injuries, this occurs when the end-user, who is not properly handling the saw, comes in contact with a hard object or surface, causing the chainsaw to flip itself backwards towards the body, face or legs.  This could potentially lead to permanent injury or even a loss of life. 

The biggest safety concern is a loose chain, which routinely becomes so over time.  When a chain jumps off the blade or pops, it can be the result of a number of issues, aside from normal wear and tear, that will require your frequent inspection. 

It’s important to keep in mind, operating a chainsaw requires a superior amount of strength, as previously mentioned, therefore, it is important that if you do not have great hand to eye coordination or upper body strength, you do not attempt to use a chainsaw to cut your own firewood, or any reason, for that matter.    

Let’s look at one of the final hazards on our list. 

Burning Cut Wood Hazards

When you cut your own firewood, it will be too rich in moisture to effectively burn in a fire.  All wood must go through a drying out phase, before it can properly be used as firewood in your home.   

You can tell that your wood is not burnable, by the green color, the moist feel, and the stiffness of the wood when cutting.   In addition to being harder to stay lit and burn though, unseasoned wood produces more smoke, and less heat. 

This process of drying out the wood for use is known as “seasoning”.  It’s a proper technique that removes all moisture from each part of the wood.  This can be done in a variety of ways, but the end result is the same.  Remove any and all moisture.  The commonality in the method of seasoning itself,  is to let the wood dry out at least six months prior to burning.  

We know you must be saying to yourself, all of this is enlightening, but what is the alternative?  A trusted, local supplier, like Hawkins Landscape Supply.   Why us?  We have been serving the Maryland and Northwest Washington communities with firewood delivery for over 43 years, and at some point in time, just about every resident in the area has trusted us with their landscaping or firewood needs.  

We deliver the firewood right to your door, seasoned, so you can spend time doing what you love, with who you love the most.    We take special care to source firewood ethically and safely, with the only requirement on your part being an initial phone call to get the ball rolling.  

When shopping for firewood, local businesses matter.  Partner with us with the peace of mind that your hard earned money is circulating right back into your community, powering your home with a sustainable, natural heating source.  It also prevents pests and invasive species from hitching  a ride on your wood as it travels to you.  Give us a call today so we can discuss how to best serve you. 

Stay warm! 

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